The Zookeeper’s Wife

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Book club time!


This month Nancy chose “The Zookeeper’s Wife.”  


This non-fiction book tells the remarkable WWII story of Jan Zabinski, the director of the Warsaw Zoo, and his wife, Antonina, who, with courage and coolheaded ingenuity, sheltered 300 Jews as well as Polish resisters in their villa and in animal cages and sheds. 


Using Antonina’s diaries, other contemporary sources and her own research in Poland, Ackerman takes us into the Warsaw ghetto and the 1943 Jewish uprising and also describes the Poles’ revolt against the Nazi occupiers in 1944. 


Ackerman’s writing is powerful, as in her description of the effects of the German bombing of the zoo area: “…the sky broke open and whistling fire hurtled down, cages exploded, moats rained upward, iron bars squealed as they wrenched apart.” 


There was a lot to discuss and compare – so it was a great book for a club to read!~


But then it was time for our lunch!  Of course keeping in theme with the book!


We started off with salad.


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And then moved on to the most delicious Polish Sausage Split Pea Soup!


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Corn bread!

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And of course a wonderful Polish dessert, Mazurka, and a nice cup of coffee to finish.


Friends and a good meal – what else could you possibly want?


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There were 380,000 Jews in Warsaw on the eve of World War II. Most did not survive the Holocaust. The director of the Warsaw Zoo and his wife were responsible for saving about 300. Why then write about them? Can 300 mean anything when hundreds of thousands died? Certainly any such act of wartime courage is worth recording, but Jan and Antonina Zabinski’s work was distinctive. The Nazis dehumanized the Jews; the Zabinskis hid them in animal cages. The Nazis behaved like beasts; the zookeepers, who were experienced with dangerous animals, threw them off the scent with subterfuge and lies. The Zabinskis’ effort was not just merciful, it was human in the deepest sense of the word.”  New York Times Book Review

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